Your Ultrasound Scan

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What is an Ultrasound Scan?
An ultrasound scan builds up a picture of part of the inside of the body using sound waves. A small hand-held sensor is moved over the skin to view the organ from different angles; the pictures are
displayed on a TV monitor screen and recorded.

Are there any risks?
No, there are no known risks and it is considered to be very safe.

Are you required to make any special preparations in advance?
Sometimes it is necessary to prepare for the scan. If so, this will be explained in the accompanying appointment letter.

Parking at the Hospital
The hospital has plenty of car parking spaces, but you may not be able to park close to the entrance. It is important that you arrive on time. If you are late for your appointment, we can’t guarantee that you will be seen and you may have to rebook. You are advised to allow plenty of time, 15 to 20 minutes, to find a space before your appointment.

Where do I book in?
Your appointment letter will tell you where you should book in.

What happens then?
You will be taken into the scanning room. You need to be able to easily expose the part of your body which is to be scanned so please dress accordingly. If you are having a scan of your abdomen, for example, a skirt or trousers that can be pulled down to hip level will be ideal. Paper towelling will be used to protect your clothes from the gel. If you are required to remove anything other than your external clothes we will provide you with a sheet or gown as appropriate.

What happens during the scan?
A gel will be applied to your skin over the area to be scanned. This allows the sensor to slide easily over the skin and helps to produce clearer pictures. During the scan the Radiologist or Sonographer will look at the images on the television screen and, if necessary, look at the record of the images later, before writing a report.

Will it be uncomfortable?
Ultrasound itself does not produce discomfort and apart from the sensor on your skin you will not feel anything. If a full bladder is required, though, there may be some associated discomfort.
Ultrasound is often carried out to try to find the reason for a patient’s abdominal or pelvic pain.  In these circumstances, some pressure may be applied to the skin surface over an inflamed organ. This may increase the amount of pain coming from that organ temporarily, but would be no worse than, for example, being examined by a doctor on a ward.

How long will it take?
The process of carrying out a scan usually takes about 10 – 15 minutes. Unless you are delayed, for example by emergency patients, your total time in the Department is likely to be about 30-40

When will I get the results?
After the scan, the images will be examined further by the Radiologist or Sonographer, who will prepare a report on his/her findings. This may take some time to reach your referring Doctor but is
normally about 14 days. If you have a query about having the ultrasound scan, please ring the Radiology Department between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday. The contact number is stated on your appointment letter.

Web Links
For further information you may like to visit the following sites – For further information about Milton Keynes Hospital. You can also view or download larger map from this site. – This is the web site of the Royal College of Radiologists, Clicking into the virtual hospital it will give you a lot of useful information about the work of a Radiology Department

© The Royal College of Radiologists, July 2000. Permission is granted to modify and/or re-produce these leaflets for purposes relating to the improvement of health care provided that the source is acknowledged and that none of the material is used for commercial gain. The material may not be used for any other purpose without prior consent from the College.